U'Quanla & Lisa

A first-generation college graduate, Lisa wishes she had the benefit of a mentor during the key stages of her college process. Just learning about the college experience would’ve been invaluable. Her desire to ensure that another student doesn’t navigate the process alone led Lisa to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Becoming a BBBS volunteer introduced Lisa to the iMentor program and brought her and her mentee U’Quanla together.

Lisa’s a web developer and tech guru. U’Quanla’s an aspiring fashion designer and interior decorator. U’Quanla’s fear of not having anything in common quickly faded when she connected with Lisa on an unexpected level. Like her, Lisa was shy in high school. Their commonality became a building block to their relationship and U’Quanla’s personal growth.

With Lisa’s encouragement, U’Quanla has gained greater confidence and found her voice. She’s more engaged with her peers and more welcoming of new experiences, including meeting new people. U’Quanla even joined the Year Book Club. Still working to erase her worries over attending a different college than her best friend, Lisa’s teaching U’Quanla to embrace change and trust that she can stand on her own. U’Quanla’s zest for learning and inspiring array of aspirations - traveling the world; learning to speak French, Japanese and Spanish; volunteering at an orphanage – leave no doubt in Lisa’s mind that her mentee will achieve her life’s ambitions.

After being matched for two years, Lisa’s job moved her two hours away. Rather than leave the program, Lisa decided to go the extra mile, literally. She sacrificed the gas money and driving time to attend monthly events with U’Quanla. Lisa's actions have demonstrated to U’Quanla, more than her words ever could, the extent to which Lisa believes in her and that Lisa is committed to being a champion every step of her college journey and beyond.